DOE Investigating USC Classification of Rape

The University of Southern California (USC) currently classifies sexual assaults on campus as “injury response,” preventing the Los Angeles Police Department from being notified of the attack.

via Steve White on flickr
via Steve White on flickr

Previously anonymous USC senior Ariella Mostov filed a sexual assault report with the campus police in March 2013, yet after a month with no word about her case she tried to follow up with authorities. She was told by campus police that because her attacker did not orgasm, she had not been raped and therefore did not refer the case to the Los Angeles police department. She was told “Because he stopped, it was not rape. Even though his penis penetrated your vagina, because he stopped, it was not a crime.”

Mostov told reporters “I feel like I was denied justice. These people who are assigned to protect us and guarantee our safety, who are supposed to help us through these especially hard times, are people who are incredibly incompetent.”

A copy of Mostov’s report released to the Huffington Post revealed that her attack had been labeled as an “injury response.” As a result, neither the campus Department of Public Safety nor the Los Angeles Police Department were notified of the attack which is standard in case labeled sexual assault. In addition, the attack was not reported as a sexual assault as required by the Clery Act.

Mostov joined 13 other students in filing a complaint with the Department of Education against USC for violating Title IX and the Clery Act. In July, the DOE announced that it was launching an investigation into the university’s mishandling of sexual assault cases.

Media Resources: ThinkProgress 8/13/2013; Huffington Post 8/12/2013, 7/22/2013; Feminist Newswire 7/23/2013

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